Leadership Life
Take tough decisions with flexible mind
December 5, 2012
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It is never easy to make tough decisions. There comes a time when one has to take a leap of faith, Reinhold Messner, the ace Austrian mountaineer, once said.

Decision-making is the most valuable tool that God has gifted to mankind through the power of reasoning. Right decision at the right moment however tough may change one’s life forever. Decisions whether small or big, tough or easy, quick or labored, pleasant or unpleasant have to be decisive in nature. It is rightly said destiny is not a matter of chance; it is a matter of choice. It is not something to be waited for, but rather something to be achieved through tough decision-making.

Reinhold Messner, one of the most successful mountaineers of all time, was the first man to climb Mount Everest — 8,848 metres (5.5 miles) high — without using bottled oxygen in 1978. He first climbed Everest without oxygen in 1978 with Peter Habeler. The world was astonished at the duo’s impossible feat. But it wasn’t enough for Messner. Two years later he climbed Everest without oxygen alone and that too on one of the more difficult routes. Considered the greatest mountaineer in the world, Messner, now 68, was also the first man to climb all 14 of the earth’s peaks over 8,000 metres.

When asked about it Messner admitted it is never easy to make tough decisions in life even when one’s life is at stake. Many a time he came agonizingly close from shying away from taking tough decisions. But decisions he did take that saved his life when he was climbing the highest graveyards of the earth, like Mt Everest.

Tough decisions depend on faith and that is what faith involves. It involves hearing from God, and responding in accordance with what we have heard from the deepest recesses of our hearts. If we don’t make tough decisions today our children are going to have to make much, much tougher decisions tomorrow, said an American politician Pal Ryan. How right he is! But are we in the right state of mind and have the courage to follow through decisions that sound tough to handle?

My opinion is that you could be flexible in your approach but once you decide and act with firmness by showing guts to follow it up the world certainly will be proud to see it. Yes, you can do it! You will then leave behind a lasting impression on the world stage.

No company, society or nation can do without taking tough decisions. Before executing decisions what matters is your state of mind… what you visualize to do by staying committed to the cause not worrying too much about public opinion which anyway is fickle.
What you could do depends on what your decisions are. Be willing to take decisions and act upon it and follow it even when adverse reactions emanate. What should keep you moving is the strong belief that what you are doing is in the larger interest of your family, company, society or the nation. Flexibility in approach does not mean taking the easy way out by doing nothing. Inaction can never be equated with action!
Be ready to face consequences, criticism; show determination to handle when the going gets tough and at the same to show enough flexibility to reverse the decision when the situation so demands without thinking about losing face. Error of judgment after all is human. Admitting the error shows the greatness in you.
President Obama is taking tough decisions to get his country going in the right direction and preventing a major Depression like the one of 1930′s. He has taken the economy from job losses to 15 straight months of job gains, cut taxes 26 times, and focused on getting the middle class back on its feet simultaneously revamping the $2.5 trillion US healthcare system by a sweeping overhaul.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India too is facing severe challenges with regards to bringing FDI in multi-brand retail. Political parties are opposing tooth and nail but to bring necessary changes in the system one has to take tough and bitter decisions. I have seen planners and dreamers. They took lots of opinion without caring to act and left behind no lasting impressions. That is why they are all found at the average level.
When results are accounted for… life could be treated as business…
Live with flow…. BF Skinner asserted, “I did not direct my life. I didn’t design it. I never made decisions. Things always came up and made them for me. That’s what life is.”

You could be slow in deciding but then you need to stick to your decisions. While taking decisions show flexibility in approach but decisions once take is most important and must be followed at any cost. You should prefer to die for a promise which you ought to deliver and what counts despite any factors that could lie in store to impede you is the mental strength to do come what may. Then you will be at peace with yourself. That is what lies in the mind of a leader.
It is said that no decision sometimes can be the best decision. This can never be a rule. If one has to move forward he better take decisions without procrastinating. No matter how tough, tough decisions have to be made.

About author

Dr Shailesh Thaker

Dr. Shailesh Thaker is a world-renowned management thinker and trainer on organizational behavior and development. He is the CLO of Knowledge Plus Inc., a highly reputed training firm based in Ahmedabad, India, helping organizations to achieve international benchmarks in management practices.

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